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FAQ - Loudoun - Vet Tech

The Veterinary Technology Program is fully accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The program is located on the Loudoun campus in Sterling, Virginia, and includes a small animal veterinary teaching clinic, laboratory, digital radiology suite, dental suite, surgical suite, lab rooms, and kennel facilities.

Below are some commonly asked questions concerning the Veterinary Technology Program: 

Program FAQ

Q: What is Veterinary Technology? 
A: Veterinary Technology is an established field in which people are educated to assist in veterinary practice, laboratories, animal research, and other areas requiring knowledge of medicine and animals.

Q: How does someone become a Licensed Veterinary Technician?
A: People become veterinary technicians by completing a formal college program, receiving an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree from an accredited program, and then successfully completing a national examination to become legally certified, registered, or licensed. Some states require an additional state examination. In Virginia, veterinary technicians are licensed.

Q: Describe the full-time Veterinary Technology Program at NOVA.
A: The program begins in the fall semester and continues for four consecutive semesters until graduation after the spring semester. There are no veterinary technology courses in the summer. The program is a combination of basic medical science and practical hands-on skills conducted either on-campus, at off-campus sites, or at the veterinary practice where you currently work.

Q: Describe the part-time Veterinary Technology Program at NOVA.
A: The program begins in the fall semester and continues for six consecutive semesters until graduation after the spring semester. There are no veterinary technology courses in the summer. The program is a combination of basic medical science and practical hands-on skills conducted either on-campus, off-campus sites, or at the veterinary practice where you currently work.

Q: How do I get hands-on experience if I take my courses online?
A: During your time in the program, you are required to work at an approved veterinary facility and be supervised on the job by a mentor who is a licensed veterinarian or licensed veterinary technician. After receiving proper instruction and training during on-campus visits, students may then practice the skills under the direct supervision of their mentor. Full-time students work an average of 10 hours per week and part-time students work an average of 20 hours per week.

Q: What type of classes are offered?     
A: The courses in our program include: Anatomy and Physiology of Domestic Animals; Pharmacology; Hematology; Diseases of Domestic and Large Animals; Microbiology; Radiology; Dentistry; Parasitology; Laboratory, Wildlife and Zoo Animal Medicine; Animal Behavior; Clinical Pathology; Advanced Clinical Practices; and Anesthesia which provide our students with an excellent foundation to begin their career in Veterinary Medicine. Students also participate in clinical practice situations in the veterinary hospital on campus, visits to veterinary clinics, and a semester-long preceptorship at a veterinary facility. 

Q: I really want to become a veterinarian. Is this the best place to start?
A: No. While some graduates of the veterinary technology program have, in fact, continued their education and become licensed veterinarians, the classes required for both disciplines are entirely different. The veterinary technology program prepares graduates to start a career providing excellent nursing skills as a licensed veterinary technician and the courses do not transfer as credit for vet school.

Q: Do the full-time and part-time programs always have to be completed in two and three years respectively?
A: Yes, you must choose your path at the time you apply. If you are accepted into the Full-time program, you must complete it in 2 years. If you are accepted into the Part-time program, you must complete it in 3 years. The specific veterinary technology courses within the degree curriculum are designed to be completed in sequence and are only offered in a particular semester. Please note, that students are required to complete prerequisite courses (SDV101 Orientation to Veterinary Technology, ENG111, CHM101 or CHM111, MTH133, VET111) prior to applying to the Veterinary Technology program. 

Q: Do I have to take all on-campus courses or all online courses while in the program?
A: No, you can choose to take any of the sequenced vet tech courses either online or on-campus.

Q: What happens if I want to take an on-campus course and it’s already full when I go to register?
A: Unfortunately, there is limited lab space. Registering for on-campus courses are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Q: Do I have to take general education support courses at the Loudoun Campus?
A: No, you may take your non-veterinary technology course at any of the six NOVA campuses, NOVA online, or at another community college. You can discuss this further with a Loudoun counselor or your faculty advisor.

Q: Do I have to take VET111 if I’ve taken animal anatomy and physiology at another college?
A: Yes, you still need to take VET111 despite having taken a similar course. There is no course substitution for VET111.

Admissions FAQ

Q: How do I get into the Veterinary Technology program?
A: Follow the application procedures listed under the Apply to the Program section on this website. Students are accepted into the program based on such credentials as previous grade patterns, overall GPA, current experience in the field, completion of general education courses, and residency within the commonwealth of Virginia.

Q: How many students are admitted to the class?
A: Our goal is to admit 80 well-qualified, highly motivated students. Our program can accommodate 40 on-campus students per year.

Q: How likely is it that I will be accepted into the Veterinary Technology program the first time I apply?
A: Although the Veterinary Technology program has set minimum requirements for application, all candidates applying will compete with that particular year’s qualified applicant pool.

Q: Why do we have to submit the Task List and Equipment List Surveys?
A: These lists provide the mentor and clinical facility serving as the practice site with a good idea of what the student is required to study and the equipment and materials that will be needed. It is not expected that a veterinary facility will be able to provide all of the clinical task practice or that they will own all of the equipment. Most students will require some observation hours at other places, including emergency clinics, a large animal facility or practice, and/or a laboratory.

Q: If I don’t get into the Full-time Program, can I be in the Part-time Program for a while until I get accepted into the Full-time Program?
A: The Part-time Program is not a "stepping stone" into the Full-time Program. Students wishing to enter either program must apply to that program and will be considered as part of that applicant pool. 

Q: The application guide says I have to get a job at a veterinary clinic, but I'm struggling to find a clinic that will hire me. What do I do?
A: It is very difficult to get a Veterinary Assistant position without prior experience. If you do not yet meet the qualifications needed to be a Veterinary Assistant, try applying for other veterinary clinic positions, such as a Client Service Representative or a Kennel Attendant. These types of roles can provide foundational skills and training for anyone new to veterinary medicine. From there, let your employer know about your goal of becoming a Vet Tech and ask about opportunities to gain further experience through helping in the treatment area. 

Q: Do you accept transfer courses for veterinary technology courses from other vet tech programs?
A: Unfortunately, we cannot accept any VET-courses from another Vet Tech program. The AVMA, who accredits all Vet Tech Programs, has a long list of skills that are required to be completed by each enrolled student. Since every Vet Tech program is structured differently, we cannot ensure that each skill has been satisfactorily met in any outside coursework. As a result, if you are admitted to our program and choose to join, you would have to start your VET coursework over from the beginning.

Program and Course Requirements FAQ

Q: What happens if I have to drop a class for medical or family reasons?
A: If you encounter difficulties with a course, whether academic or personal, you should contact your course instructor and the program head with your concerns to learn about all of your options.

Q: For online courses, can the written exams be taken at other colleges?
A: Yes, written tests can be administered at other community colleges in Virginia using the Canvas format. You will need to arrange for a proctor in the Testing Center at your local community college.

Q: Why do we have to come to campus two to three times a semester for online courses?
A: Hands-on laboratory review and evaluation is conducted in person by program personnel at the Loudoun Campus. Campus visits are a requirement for many of our VET courses.

Q: Where can I obtain the required pre-exposure rabies vaccinations?
A: You can obtain rabies vaccinations from most county health departments; contact them directly for specific information on cost and appointment scheduling. Alternatively, you may be able to obtain this through your current healthcare provider or national retail pharmacy vaccine clinics for travelers. The pre-exposure Rabies vaccine is a series of three vaccinations that must be completed prior to starting your fall Veterinary Technology courses. You will be required to submit original proof of Rabies vaccination to the program. If you have a previous Rabies series, you must submit proof of current protective rabies titer if it has been more than six months since your last vaccine.

Mentor and Faculty FAQ

Q: If taking online courses, how often will we see the program faculty?
A: An average of two or three times a semester during campus visits. Students are encouraged to reach out to course instructors for additional help with the material learned in class.

Q: How do I get in touch with the faculty?
A: The best way to stay in touch with the faculty is through Canvas or by email.

Q: Can my mentor be a Licensed Veterinary Technician?
A: The primary mentor must be a veterinarian. The primary mentor can then assign a Licensed Veterinary Technician to be an assistant mentor and help with all the tasks required of the primary mentor.

Q: What exactly does the mentor do in regard to teaching?
A: The mentor provides supervision so that the student may practice skills already learned at NOVA appropriately and safely.

Q: What happens if I have to change mentors during the Program?
A: You must notify the program head immediately in writing if there is a change in your employment or mentor. You must maintain the mentor and employment requirements and keep the mentor paperwork updated in order to remain in the program.

Degree Progress FAQ

Q: If I have taken a college course that appears to be similar to the degree requirements for the curriculum, must I take the same course again?
A: If you would like to have your previous coursework substituted for courses at NOVA, you will need to have your college transcript(s) properly evaluated by NOVA. This only applies to general education requirements. 

Q: Do credits earned in the Veterinary Technology program transfer to four-year colleges?
A: The courses that will transfer vary with the college. Most VET-prefixed courses are very content-specific and are designed only for the completion of the applied science degree in Veterinary Technology. Individuals interested in transferring should contact the college or university to which they plan to transfer to discuss this further. Graduates of the program may transfer to specific universities that award a bachelor’s degree in Veterinary Technology and earn the title of Veterinary Technologist.

Financial FAQ

Q: Is financial aid available?
A financial aid counselor on any NOVA campus can help you. Call to confirm their walk-in appointment hours before coming to the office.

Click here to find information on the Financial Aid Offices at all NOVA campuses.

For best consideration of timely financial aid, make sure to see a financial aid counselor well before the annual Federal and NOVA priority FAFSA application deadlines.

The six-digit identification code for Northern Virginia Community College is 003727. This code must be included on the FAFSA in order for the application data to be released to the College. Failure to include the code on the FAFSA on the Web application or the paper version of the FAFSA may delay the processing of your application.

Q: How much will the total Program cost?
A: The total Program cost will depend on whether you are paying in-state or out-of-state tuition. It will also depend on how many course credits you already earned before entering the Program. Click here for details on the most Current Tuition Rate Per Credit Hour.

Examples of other expenses will be in the form of a campus parking pass and expenses associated with campus commuting, rabies vaccination, course textbooks, lab supplies and equipment, required clothing for clinical labs, and travel to field trips.

Q: What is the G3 Program and does it apply to the Veterinary Technology Program?
A: The G3 program makes it possible for Virginians with low or modest incomes to pursue jobs in high-demand fields. We understand that time and money are two major factors to consider when exploring training for a new career. The G3 scholarship makes community college possible (for those who financially qualify).

Yes, the Veterinary Technology Program is an approved G3 career path.

Q: What is the employment outlook for graduates of the Program?
A: There are many job openings in this field in Northern Virginia and other parts of the country. Prospective employers often contact NOVA regarding employment. There is a Vet Tech Career Center on the NOVA website.

Q: I am a prospective student and have further questions about the requirements and/or application process - who should I contact?
A: If you need help or have questions regarding the Veterinary Technology Program requirements or the application process, Contact Us.